Two officers with the Los Angeles Police Department have been charged with multiple counts sexual assault involving at least four women. James Nichols, 44, and Luis Valenzuela, 43, were suspended from active duty two years ago when the LAPD began an administrative investigation into the charges.
Sexual assaults involved confidential informants
Nichols and Valenzuela were partners and have been charged with sexual assault and rape under color of authority. According to prosecutors, the officers assaulted some of the victims while on duty, and one officer is accused of pointing his weapon at one of the women. According to the complaints, the women first came into contact with Nichols and Valenzuela during narcotics-related arrests. The victims ranged in age from 19-34 at the time of the alleged assaults. According to the victims, the assaults took place between December 2008 and March 2011. Two of the four women have settled civil lawsuits against the city.
If you’ve been accused of sexual assault, a very experienced criminal defense attorney should be part of your defense strategy. Robert Helfend is a very respected criminal defense attorney who practices in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. Defending against sexual assault can be difficult because the jury can be very sympathetic to the victim. Regardless of how the jury feels, it’s important to make sure they understand the facts of the case, and what the evidence really proves.
Prosecutors will use any evidence – no matter how weak or questionable – to obtain a conviction. They often rely on lazy or incomplete investigative work to build a case. Even when the physical and circumstantial evidence doesn’t support their case, prosecutors will proceed because in their minds, any conviction – even an unjustified one – is better than no conviction. It often seems like they have little stake in making sure the right person is on trial.
Mr. Helfend has established a reputation for aggressively defending his clients in court. He is well respected by both his peers and professional colleagues and can construct an effective defense for you in sexual assault cases. He will bring together a team of experts to examine and question the evidence, witness statements and the results of the police investigation.
Penalties in sexual assault cases can be severe, but it is possible to defend yourself against charges of sexual assault. If you’re facing sexual assault charges,contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County sexual assault case.
Photo Credit: Moi Cody, via FreeImages.com